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Tech firm exploring innovation centre in Thailand

The Thailand branch of a networking and technology giant says it’s looking into the possibility of establishing an innovation centre in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and running a 5G testbed in the country.

The innovation centre would have tech demos displayed for interested parties, according to the Managing Director for Thailand and Indochina. Whether the centre would be established depends on traffic from people and businesses in the EEC.

His comments echoed those of Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister who, last month, stated, after visiting the US, that the company had expressed interest in setting up an innovation centre in Thailand.

The Minister noted that the US firm was interested in telehealth, cybersecurity and 5G technologies, as well as the smart city scheme.

The company is exploring running a 5G testbed for the healthcare and manufacturing fields to capitalise on the Thailand 4.0 initiative amid economic challenges.

5G adoption in Thailand this year will be in the early stages, the Minister stated, with limited services scaling up in 2021 as more enterprises use the technology.

The tech firm is exploring a 5G-enabled router use case in moving vehicles, such as ambulances, mining and manufacturing in smart factories and universities.

WiFi6, which has throughput speed of 10-20 gigabit per second, will be rolled out this year. Its usage is expected to surpass WiFi5 by next year.

The latest flagship smartphones support WiFi6, which would usher in more seamless connectivity for open roaming between 5G and WiFi6 in the future.

The company plans to continue expanding new growth engines and adding more value beyond connectivity networking business through global acquisitions, particularly mobile apps with performance monitoring features.

Many businesses rely on mobile apps to provide digital services for customers, so mobile applications will be the new brand loyalty.

Demand for cybersecurity technology has heightened with enforcement of the Cybersecurity Act beginning last year, the full enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act in May 2020 will also support demand for data loss prevention technology.

5G rollout in Thailand

An earlier OpenGov Asia report noted that interest in 5G wireless network technology has been on the rise in Thailand and around the world recently.

This is a result of the array of related-use cases, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that capitalise on the ultra-fast internet.

5G network deployment in Thailand is expected to start next year, with experiments building up business use cases, while full competition in 5G business is expected by 2021.

Drones, remote-controlled vehicles, robotics, smart homes, smart factories, smart farms and smart healthcare are expected to be the first tier of 5G use cases, according to analysts.

Industry players have confirmed their full commitment to a 5G network in Thailand as it will go beyond connectivity and increase business productivity and use cases, giving consumers access to innovative public services.

The aim is to develop a clear frequency roadmap, particularly regarding frequency availability, from authorities, the Chief Executive of a major mobile phone operator company noted.

Auction pricing is important as 5G network investment carries a very high cost. Some US$2.4 trillion is expected to be spent on the 5G network globally in 2020.

The telecom regulator may have to consider providing financial assistance for mobile operators or introducing an infrastructure-sharing scheme to ease the financial burden shouldered by operators.

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